Look out for Serpens and Sagittarius in the July skies : How to by Beckington Astronomical Society

  Posted: 28.06.20 at 09:34 by The Editor

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An important element of the Beckington Astronomical Society meetings is looking ahead to another incredible line of up of astronomical events in the coming month. Although we are currently in the period of very short nights, and no true full darkness, there are still plenty of sights to see.

The planets of our solar system remain the main attractions and their visibility will be improving all the time during July. Both Jupiter, on the 14th, and Saturn, on the 20th, will reach “opposition”. This means that the Earth will be between the sun and the planet making viewing easier. Both planets will appear to be bigger and brighter than at any other time during 2020.

Jupiter is best viewed around 01.00 on the 14th July, low in the southern sky, close to the constellation of Sagittarius.

The Milky Way is at it’s densest near Sagittarius as this is where our galactic centre lies. The image, taken last week by one of our members, shows the many star clusters and nebulae contained in Sagittarius (half human and half horse, Sagittarius is the Centaur of mythology, the learned healer whose higher intelligence forms a bridge between Earth and Heaven. Also known as the Archer, Sagittarius is represented by the symbol of a bow and arrow).

To view Saturn you will need to look south south east, low in the sky, again close to the constellation of Sagittarius from Midnight into the early hours of the 20th.

At the end of the month look out for Mars at around 04.00 on the 31st. It will be higher in the sky than Jupiter and Saturn (an altitude of 35 degrees), located to the south in the constellation of Pisces.

Serpens the Serpent, the only constellation that seems to be split in two

Another constellation to identify this month is Serpens the Serpent, the only constellation that seems to be split in two, by the constellation Ophiucus (the Serpent Bearer). These constellations appear low in the south west. The brightest star in Serpens is called Unukalhai which means Serpents Neck. The neck of Serpens appears to the west of Ophiucus with Unukalhai in the middle of the neck and the triangular head of the serpent further north.

We wish you clear skies!
This friendly and enthusiastic society meets once a month for discussions and presentations about astronomy and all things space related. We are looking forward to our new season starting in September, subject to Government guidelines, with a full programme to take us through to June 2021. The programme of talks and events will be available on our website www.beckingtonas.org later in the year. It would be great to welcome new members and visitors once we are able to start again, all of the details are on the website or see our Facebook page. If you have questions please email [email protected]

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